Was accused thug E.J. Woods sent packing by Neuheisel, or did he just realize that he was meant to be a trojan?
We’ll never know the real reason, but UCLA Safety E.J. Woods is leaving UCLA. He is transferring to Santa Monica College for a year, and will then attempt a return to the Pac-10, possibly at usc. Woods is currently charged with six counts of Battery and Sexual Battery during three different incidents, so usc may just be a perfect fit. Birds of a feather fly together.
With sc’s reputation for having its athletes beat the rap, South Central may be the ideal destination for the young man who wasn’t thriving in regards to the Westwood depth chart. With the sc legal machine working its magic, Woods wouldn’t have to worry about these pesky legal proceedings. And then he could just blend in, amongst his own kind.
But the question remains, did he really just up and leave, perhaps over playing time, or was he forced out by Neuheisel, either due to his alleged lack of character, or maybe to clear up scholarship space? Best case scenario is that Neuheisel had been privy to some evidence, and decided to remove him from the squad, based on a renewed zero-tolerance policy. I would love to see Rick lay down the law, and make an example of someone (assuming that the guy is not wrongly accused). I want UCLA to be the ANTI-sc — The Bruins should be the team that doesn’t stand for any criminal activity. If he is convicted, sc would probably welcome him with open arms after his prison term is over.
And speaking of open arms for (alleged) thugs, the Lakers have signed fan-attacking Ron Artest to try to replace the departing Bruin Trevor Ariza. Apparently, the Lakers did not put a lot of effort into retaining Ariza, despite Trevor’s invaluble contributions during the Lakers’ Championship run, instead snatching up the Houston Rockets’ Artest in his place. Trevor signed with Houston, who will not only be missing Artest, but may be forever without Yao Ming, whose recent injury is now possibly career-threatening. While Ariza’s Rockets will not improve over last year’s version, the Lakers may get better. Artest was 2nd Team All-Defensive, and he can score consistently from all over, at a clip much higher than Ariza. The Lakers could be even more explosive next year, on their way to a Finals meeting with the LeBron-Shaq Cavaliers. Artest for (the younger) Ariza could be a short-term gain for L.A.
But only if Artest does not destroy the Lakers’ chemistry. Ariza was an unassuming player who took what the Defense and his teammates gave him. Artest will have to adjust to being a Defensive specialist, and not one of the Lakers’ go-to guys. Kobe and Pau Gasol should still be considered better options when the chips are down. Kobe and Artest have been known to butt heads on the court, but Phil Jackson is known for developing team chemistry, and should be able to control Artest the way he did Dennis Rodman. Maybe Jack Haley should come back and be Artest’s interpreter.
So now it’s up to Jordan Farmar to carry the Bruin flag in Lakerland. Hopefully, he will gain more of Derek Fisher’s minutes — perhaps preserving the aging Fish for another Playoff miracle shot — and prove once and for all that he is a capable Starting NBA Point Guard, starting a procession of success that could include Russell Westbrook, Darren Collison, and even Jrue Holiday, who apparently made a misjudgement of where he would be drafted. He might still be at UCLA, if he could get a Mulligan.
But on a day where “Woods” gets a 9-Iron in the ass from his Coach (maybe), there are no Mulligans, and Holiday will have to “settle” for being JUST another Howland 1st Round pick. See Pete Carroll? You don’t have to cheat and cavort with demonic agents to become a pipeline to the Pro’s.
And finally, speaking of Holiday, I hope everyone has a Happy 4th of July. And as I am back to my 80-hour workweeks, the updates here will be less frequent, but when sc gets the Death Penalty, I will MAKE some time.